Home Theater Network

What to Look For in Cables (cont.)

5. Length of Cable

All video, audio, and data signals will loose their strength as a cable length increases. Keep cables as short as possible to reduce degradation. When longer lengths are necessary, get higher quality cables with better shielding and components. For digital signals, less expensive lower quality cables can be used up to 10 feet. After 10 feet, use cables with better build-quality. For all analog signals except for speaker wires (due to the low frequencies), higher quality cables with better components should be used.

Cable Length

6. Impedance
Some cables and their corresponding signals require a certain impedance level in order for the signal to be read correctly. For example, S-video and composite cables require a 75 Ohm impedance. The closer a cable is to the required impedance level, the better.
7. Surrounding Environment
The surrounding enviornment can affect the amount of EMI educed onto cables. Keep voltage sensitive audio/video cables away from power cords and any unshielded speakers.
8. Twisted or Untwisted
Twisted cables are unnecessary for single-conductor cables such as coaxial or composite. However, they are desirable for long-distance multiple-conductor cables such as Ethernet and telephone. Twisting of conductors inside a cable will help reduce crosstalk between each conductor. This is important for high frequency signals as a cable length increases.
9. Price
Last, but not least. How much you can afford will affect what quality of cables you can buy. Leave some room in your budget for cables, or you might be disappointed in the audio/video performance of your Home Theater Network.

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